Charles Lloyd (Australian general)

Charles Lloyd

A black and white photograph of the upper body and head of a middle-aged Caucasian man. He is wearing the uniform of an Australian Army officer, has short dark hair and a small neatly cropped moustache on his upper lip.

Major General Charles Lloyd in 1945
Nickname(s) "Gaffer"
Born 2 February 1899
South Fremantle, Western Australia
Died 31 May 1956(1956-05-31) (aged 57)
Hollywood, Western Australia
Buried at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Rank Major General

Second World War

Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches (3)

Major General Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd, CBE (2 February 1899 – 31 May 1956) was a senior officer in the Australian Army. Lloyd graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1918 as a regular officer in the artillery and subsequently served in a range of staff and regimental positions in the inter-war years. He later saw service in the Second World War, during which he held senior staff and administrative positions in the Middle East, the Netherlands East Indies, Papua and Australia. Later he worked as a newspaper executive, as chief of several United Nations agencies, and in private enterprise. Lloyd died in 1956.

Early life

Charles Lloyd was born on 2 February 1899 at South Fremantle, Western Australia, the second and only surviving child of Thomas Edward Lloyd, a postmaster, and his wife Edith, née Lock. His parents separated in 1901 and two years later his father committed suicide. He was subsequently raised by his mother who worked as a telephone attendant at Coolgardie, and then in Fremantle from 1909. Lloyd was educated at Beaconsfield, Fremantle Boys' Central and Perth Modern schools.[1]

Military career

Entering the Australian Army in 1915, Lloyd graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in December 1918 as a regular officer in the artillery, too late to see action during the First World War.[2][3] Lloyd was nicknamed "Gaffer" by the other cadets due to his serious demeanor,[1] and Gavin Long considered him among the "ablest" of the group of officers that joined the Staff Corps at that time.[4] He was appointed as a lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force upon completing his training at Duntroon and embarked from Sydney in January 1919, being sent to the United Kingdom and later posted to France.[3] Returning to the Permanent Military Force as the AIF was demobilised, he later completed his training serving with the British Army in England and India in 1919–20.[1]

Lloyd married Sybil Drummond in Melbourne on 31 December 1921.[1] He subsequently held junior staff and regimental postings in Australia during the 1920s, at the same time studying law at the University of Sydney.[2] His next postings included various adjutant and quartermaster roles at battery and brigade level in the 2nd and 3rd Military Districts.[3] Later he attended Staff College, Camberley, in the United Kingdom during 1932–33.[2] Next he was appointed Brigade Major of the 4th Divisional Artillery in Melbourne in 1934, and was promoted to major in 1937.[1][3] He was posted to the Directorate of Artillery at Army Headquarters in Melbourne from 1938 to 1939.[2]

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Lloyd was seconded to the Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) for overseas service. He held administrative posts in the 6th Division and I Australian Corps in the Middle East during 1940, but was transferred before the 6th Division went into combat for the first time. In December that year, ranked colonel, he was posted to the 9th Division as the senior operational officer, serving as chief of staff to Major General Sir Leslie Morshead. In March, the 9th Division moved into the Western Desert, where they were to finalise their training and prepare to join the British advance through Libya.[5] The landing of German forces around Tripoli in April forced the British and Commonwealth armies into withdrawal from Benghazi as the Afrika Korps arrived to reinforce the Italians in North Africa. The Axis forces subsequently began to advance west towards the strategic port of Tobruk. During the Siege of Tobruk which followed, Lloyd saw action between April and October 1941, until the Australian units were relieved by British forces.[1][2][6] Following the evacuation of the 9th Division from Tobruk by sea, Lloyd then served as chief liaison officer at AIF Headquarters, Middle East.[1]

Departing the Middle East in late January 1942, Lloyd was promoted to brigadier and flew to Batavia in the Netherlands East Indies,[3][7] where elements of the 2nd AIF had been diverted to whilst returning from the Middle East in order to meet the Japanese threat following their initial attacks against British Commonwealth and US forces in the Pacific in December 1941.[8] He subsequently filled a senior staff posting in General Sir Archibald Wavell's ABDA Command during its brief existence, holding the position of Deputy Intendant-General with the temporary rank of major general between January and February 1942.[1] Rising from major to major general in less than two-and-a-half years, he became the youngest general officer in the Australian Army at the age of 42.[9] In this role he acted as Wavell's chief administrative officer; however, he advocated to the Australian high command against British proposals for I Corps remain in Java, which he believed was unsound and likely result in its loss given the precarious tactical situation there, and that it should instead be returned to Australia to be concentrated for operations against the Japanese elsewhere.[10][11] Ultimately while a few Australian units were landed in Java, where they were inevitably captured in the fighting that followed, the bulk of the 6th and 7th Divisions were returned to Australia after pressure from the Australian government.[8]

Following the Netherlands East Indies campaign, Lloyd returned to Australia in April 1942 and reverted to the rank of brigadier.[1] He was subsequently appointed Director of Staff Duties at Land Headquarters (LHQ) in July.[2] In September he was briefly posted to I Corps in Papua as Brigadier General Staff under Lieutenant General Sir Sydney Rowell.[1] In February 1943, Lloyd was promoted again to major general and appointed Adjutant General at LHQ by the Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Thomas Blamey, remaining in this position until 1946.[2][1] Blamey had reportedly been "dissatisfied" with the performance of the previous Adjutant General, Major General Victor Stantke, and appointed Lloyd to rejuvenate the office.[12][13] Leaving the full-time army, he transferred to the inactive reserve in February 1946.[14] Described by Chester Wilmot as "one of the ablest staff officers and most colourful characters of the AIF",[15] and by Wavell as "a staff officer of great quality", during his service Lloyd had been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1941) and was mentioned in despatches three times (1941–42).[1]

Later life

In 1946, Lloyd became a senior executive of the Argus & Australasian newspaper, before unsuccessfully seeking Liberal Party pre-selection for a seat in Federal parliament the same year. In 1948, he was appointed as a member of the government committee that reported on the administration of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan.[1] His later work included postings as chief of the United Nations Refugee Organisation in Australia and New Zealand (1948–51), and Chief of Mission of the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (1951–53).[14] On return to Australia he took up a position as vice-chairman of Navcot (Aust.) Pty Ltd, a private enterprise which was involved in shipping refugees from Europe as part of the post-war immigration program.[1] Whilst visiting relatives in Western Australia, Lloyd died of jaundice in the Repatriation General Hospital, in Hollywood, Perth, on 31 May 1956 and was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Clark 2000.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Dennis et al 2008, p. 325.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 NAA: B883, VX4, Lloyd, Charles Edward Maurice. National Archives of Australia. pp. 5–6. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  4. Long 1952, p. 85.
  5. Thompson 2010, p. 112.
  6. Maughan 1966, p. 7.
  7. Horner 1982, p. 176.
  8. 1 2 Grey 1999, p. 168.
  9. Dennis et al 2008, pp. 325–326.
  10. Horner 1978, p. 42.
  11. Horner 1982, pp. 155 and 163–64.
  12. Charlton 1983, p. 24.
  13. Horner 1978, pp. 171 & 270.
  14. 1 2 Dennis et al 2008, p. 326.
  15. Wilmot 1993, p. 113.


  • Charlton, Peter (1983). The Unnecessary War: Island Campaigns of the South-West Pacific 1944–45. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Macmillan Australia. ISBN 0333356284. 
  • Clark, Chris (2000). "Lloyd, Charles Edward Maurice (1899–1956)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Volume 15. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 9780522844597. 
  • Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin; Bou, Jean (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (Second ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195517849. 
  • Grey, Jeffrey (1999). A Military History of Australia (Second ed.). Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521644836. 
  • Horner, David (1978). Crisis of Command: Australian Generalship and the Japanese Threat, 1941–1943. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian National University Press. ISBN 0708113451. 
  • Horner, David (1982). High Command: Australia & Allied Strategy 1939–1945. North Sydney, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0868610844. 
  • Long, Gavin (1952). To Benghazi. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army. Volume 1. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 18400892. 
  • Maughan, Barton (1966). Tobruk and El Alamein. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army. Volume 3. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 954993. 
  • Thompson, Peter (2010). Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle of Crete 1941. North Sydney, New South Wales: William Heinemann. ISBN 9781864711318. 
  • Wilmot, Chester (1993) [1944]. Tobruk 1941. Ringwood, Victoria: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140175844. 
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